Recipe: Spaghetti with Buttery Tomato Sauce and Burrata

I take inspiration from all around me and my cooking philosophy (and perhaps generally in life too) is that everything can be improved upon. So even though I thought my regular tomato sauce could hold is own, I was intrigued when I saw Swedish food writer Sofia Wood add butter and honey to her tomato sauce on Instagram.

Not long after I saw that I made this spaghetti with tomato sauce and burrata and the butter, honey and lemon juice really improved my already quite good tomato sauce. The butter just makes it more mellow (in the best possible way) while also adding depth. I highly recommend trying this at home! The honey is less controversial as I always add sugar to my tomato sauce to take away sharpness, but honey works really well and you don’t have to be scared you added too much like you can with sugar. Lastly, the lemon juice added back a bit of sharpness after having removed some with adding butter and honey, but it adds a different kind of sharpness than the tomatoes have naturally – it’s fresher!

So with all these little tweaks my tomato sauce was taken to the next level and it was SO good paired with creamy burrata, olive oil and basil that I urge you, yes URGE you, to try it too!

Spaghetti with buttery tomato sauce and burrata, serves 2

1 burrata, 200 g

300 g spaghetti

1 tbsp olive oil for frying

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

400 g passata

50 ml water

2 tbsp honey

3 tbsp salted butter

1-2 tsp lemon juice

1 small bunch basil, finely chopped

salt and pepper

Topping:

torn basil

extra virgin olive oil

grated parmesan

salt and pepper

Cook the spaghetti al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Take the burrata out of the fridge. Add the oil to a large sauce pan on medium heat. Fry the garlic for a few minutes but don’t let it get too brown. Add the passata and water and let it reduce for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add honey and butter to the sauce and let it melt while stirring. Add the lemon juice and basil and season well to taste.

Add the drained spaghetti to the sauce and a little pasta water if needed. Continue to cook the pasta in the sauce while moving the pasta around in the pan with tongs until each strand of spaghetti is evenly coated with tomato sauce. Remove from heat and divide between bowls.

Tear the burrata in two and divide between bowls. Drizzle with olive oil. Scatter with basil and add extra salt and pepper. Finish it off with a generous scattering of grated parmesan.

Recipe: cheese toastie with Maroilles

I don’t know if it was because I’d just seen Nigella make a brie, parma ham and fig toastie on her latest TV show or just the fact that I am perpetually in the mood for a cheese toastie, but as it happens two weekends ago, I knew just how I would use the Maroilles cheese a French colleague had given me the same week. In return he got a nice piece of Swedish Herrgård cheese, matured for 18 months. But back to the Maroilles.

When talking to French people, food as a conversation topic is never far away. And that’s how I found out that this Maroilles cheese, from the area of Picardy, is both delicious and probably the smelliest cheese in the world. To me that’s more intriguing than off-putting and I was super excited when I tried it. Similar to Reblochon, it’s a washed rind cheese with a lot of flavour, but it’s much creamier, and dare I say, delicious.

This cheese toastie is utterly simple to make, but very rewarding when you bite into the crisp bread with melted cheese oozing out on the sides.

Maroilles cheese toastie, per toastie

2 slices Poilâne bread

salted butter

2 thick slices of Maroilles cheese

Butter the two Poilane slices on one side. Place the cheese on one of the buttered surfaces and spread them it out so it covers the whole bread slice. Place the other slice of bread on top, buttered side down (i.e. touching the cheese). Press the sandwich together. 

Now, melt a generous knob of butter in a frying pan on medium-high heat (3-4 out of 6) and place the sandwich in the pan. You don’t want the butter to burn so if unsure lower the heat. You want the sandwich to be golden on both sides and the cheese to melt inside so it takes a few minutes on each side.

Fry until golden brown on one side, pressing down with a spatula. Turn the sandwich and fry the other side. Once crisp and golden and the cheese has started to ooze out on the sides remove from pan and place on kitchen roll to remove excess butter. Pat the top of the sandwich with kitchen roll too, then cut into half and serve. Yu-um. 

PS. This is what I love the most about food; it brings people together. My colleague thought the Herrgård was a nice addition to his cheese board, with otherwise only French cheeses I presume, and I got to try a cheese I had never heard of until he boasted about the best produce from his region in France. Merci!

Fried Brussel sprouts with shallots

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I never liked steamed Brussel sprouts as a child because of the strong cabbage smell that comes with them, and I’m not too fond of the smell as a grow up either. But fried in plenty of butter (it really is the answer to anything) and served with sweet shallots (or fried bacon) the sprouts taste wonderful and you escape that awful smell. I actually think my younger self would have liked this!

Fried Brussel sprouts with shallots, serves 3-4

500 g trimmed Brussel sprouts
1 echalion shallots, finely chopped
3 tbsp salted butter
Salt, pepper

Wash and trim the sprouts and cook until soft in salted water. Drain. Melt half the butter in a frying pan and add the shallots. Fry slowly on low/medium heat until golden brown. Add the rest of the butter and fry the shallots for a few minutes. Season.

Roasted beetroots with butter and grated horseradish

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Roasted beetroots may not sound too exciting, but trust me, these ones which were roasted with plenty of butter and served with grated fresh horseradish are delicious! Another veggie dish for Christmas, perhaps?!

Roasted beetroots with butter and grated horseradish, serves 4

750 g fresh beetroots

1 small splash mild oil

3 tbsp salted butter

grated fresh horseradish

salt, pepper

Use plastic gloves to avoid red hands. Peel the beetroots with a potato peeler and cut in half. Add some oil to an roasting dish and add the beetroots. Add a tbsp butter and season. Roast in 180C oven until soft, for approx 40 minutes.Turn them once in a while and add another tbsp butter halfway through cooking. Once soft, remove from the oven and toss them in some more butter. Add grated horseradish and serve.